Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Alabama Bric-A-Brac: August 25, 2010

Got a few things to catch up on...

On Alfy Hill: I'm not going to spend a lot of time talking about the bizarre situation surrounding Alfy Hill because it already feels like old news to me (hey, I've been busy), and if you're a Bama fan, you've already got the whole story. But if you're not a fan or you're still interested, there's a good article summing up the situation here.

After finally getting things right with USC, I can only assume the NCAA decided they were overdue for screwing something up. How someone can be eligible for the summer semester, get all As and Bs in college classes, and then suddenly NOT be smart enough to play football at college is beyond all logic and comprehension. Sure, some of his high school classes might not have totally adhered to the letter of the law, but by this point, couldn't we have let it slide? I mean, the whole point of the NCAA standards are to insure that kids are properly equipped to succeed at the college level. Alfy Hill was SUCCEEDING. This was so egregious, even the guy running the anti-Saban/Bama/SEC smear campaign over at Big 10 homer site had to come out and acknowledge how bogus it was.

But it's done now. And it's a big loss for Alabama, and an even bigger one for Alfy. I'm sure he'll do well at ECU. He could be a terror on the Conference USA level. But he also could have been a terror in Saban's defense at Alabama. He was impressive enough in Bama's fall camp that coaches were seriously considering foregoing his redshirt and letting him contribute on special teams. That's a sure sign that Saban likes you. It means he wants to get you acclimated to the speed of the game early so you're over that portion of the learning curve when your opportunity to contribute on defense comes.

Oh, well. Maybe we can console ourselves by signing Jadeveon Clowney this coming February, he who may or may not have committed to Alabama twice in the past couple of weeks.

On Marcell Dareus: Still nothing new on the big man, which is both a good and bad thing. Obviously, it's bad that the first game is only a week and a half away and we still don't know what his status is. At the same time, the fact that there hasn't been much to talk about means that there haven't been a bunch of made-up BS stories floating around, which is what I was anticipating when this whole thing started. It's just better for my heart that way.

If I had to guess, I would expect to hear something around this time next week. Again, if you think back to the Julio/Ingram fiasco last summer, they weren't cleared to play until a few days before the Virginia Tech game. Given the scope of this investigation, I think there's a lot of pressure on the NCAA to get this done by kickoff, and I think they'll deliver. That is, assuming they're not too busy declaring more enrolled players ineligible.

I'm also now revising my over/under on Dareus' suspension to 1 game. Bad news, Penn State.

On Bama's second fall scrimmage: I'm not going to go into nearly as much detail this time around as I did for the first scrimmage. As you might recall, I advised keeping perspective and at least giving it until the second scrimmage before you started pulling your hair out. Well, what do you know? In a scrimmage that wasn't designed as a calculated effort to blow the secondary's doors off...the secondary played just fine.

You can find the complete stats for scrimmage #2 here, but for the sake of brevity, I'll post a comparison of the passing stats between the two scrimmages:

Scrimmage #1
Greg McElroy – 26 for 33, 360 yards, 6 TD, 0 INT
A.J. McCarron – 21 for 26, 241 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INT
Phillip Sims – 5 for 10, 97 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT

Scrimmage #2
Greg McElroy - 10 for 18, 134 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
A.J. McCarron - 11 for 23, 110 yards, 1 TDs, 0 INT
Phillip Sims - 11 for 18, 132 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT

To simplify the numbers, passing yards dropped from 698 to 376, passing touchdowns dropped all the way from 9 to 2, and completion percentage dipped from 75% to 54%. All this while the pass attempts only diminished from 69 to 59. That's improvement.

So chill out. They still have a long way to go, but these guys are getting it.

A name to watch out for: Incoming JUCO transfer Dequan Menzie. It wasn't long ago that no one even expected him to play this year after tearing his Achilles tendon in April. However, he's made a rapid recovery, and after bringing him along slowly, the coaching staff seems to be growing more and more confident in his ability to contribute in 2010 in a major way. He was pushing to secure the Star position in nickel coverage prior to suffering a slight injury during the first scrimmage that figured to set him back. It didn't. In fact, Menzie reportedly played with the 1's in the second scrimmage, over BJ Scott. Subsequently, he's been seen running with the 1's in individual drills over Dre Kirkpatrick.

It's entirely possible Saban could be using Menzie to send a message to the presumptive starters. But if Menzie is healthy enough to play, well...Saban doesn't bring in JUCO's not to play. In 08, he brought in Terrence Cody, who started at nose guard from Day 1. In 09, he brought in James Carpenter, who started at left tackle from Day 1. This year, he brought in Menzie.

If I'm Dre and BJ, I'm stepping my game UP.

Fun with recruiting: Rivals updated their 2011 rankings, and two Tide commits got bumps in their star ratings. Safety HaSean Clinton-Dix got his fifth star, which in my opinion was WAY overdue. Tight end Malcom Faciane also got his fourth star. You may remember Faciane as the focal point of this discussion we had on the subjectivity of recruiting rankings back in June. Apparently, Rivals is coming around on him.

Also, Florida safety prospect Eddie Williams committed to be a part of Alabama's class of 20...12. Glad to have him on board, but I'm always skeptical of these kids who commit so far out in advance, before they've even played their junior season. Even if they stay true to their word, will they actually live up their potential by their senior year? I'll say this - he has a couple of highlight videos out there, and the guy definitely plays like an Alabama safety. Very athletic, and dude brings the wood.

That's all for now. Next week looks like a big week here. I should be in on the SEC preview, and I have a few other pieces I'm working on in anticipation of Bama's season kicking off on the 4th.


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